Foods rich in potassium could protect heart health in women

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Scientists from Amsterdam University found that women who eat bananas, avocados, and salmon could reduce the negative effects of salt in their diet.

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers: The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.

The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.

Normal blood pressure for most adults is defined as a systolic pressure of less than 120 and a diastolic pressure of less than 80.

Elevated blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure between 120 and 129 with a diastolic pressure of less than 80.

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease and stroke.

Potassium and sodium are electrolytes that help your body maintain fluid and blood volume so it can function normally. However, consuming too little potassium and too much sodium can raise your blood pressure.

Previous research shows that sodium intake above 2,000mg per day is associated with high blood pressure. A high-potassium diet is linked to lower blood pressure and lower risk of heart disease.

But whether these associations differ between men and women and whether they depend on daily sodium intake is unknown.

In the current study, researchers examined 11,267 men and 13,696 women from the EPIC-Norfolk cohort. They tested sodium and potassium intake in these people.

The team found in women, but not in men, there was a strong link between higher potassium intake and lower systolic blood pressure, especially in women who had the highest sodium intake.

Both in men and women, higher potassium intake was linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. But the effect was stronger in women.

Based on the findings, the researchers conclude that the association between potassium intake, systolic blood pressure, and heart disease events is more specific in women.

The results suggest that women with a high sodium intake in particular benefit most from foods rich in potassium intake.

The research is published in the European Heart Journal and was conducted by Professor Liffert Vogt et al.

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